African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gouro mask
Gouro/Kweni Zauli mask (N° 18777)
This African mask of the Gouro, Kwen, or Kweni, combining animal elements, is the Gyela lu Zauli. It was used during funerals, political gatherings and entertainment ceremonies.
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Among the Mande group in the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama River, the Gouro are organized into lineages, and are the western neighbors of the Baoulé who have borrowed several features of their African tribal art creations. Animists, they have used a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance since the 1950s. These masks are owned by families practicing lineage ancestor worship, who use them ritually and sacrificially to attract divine blessings.
Priest and diviner share the predominant ritual functions among the Guro. The secret associations worship the genies of nature, through the masks in which the spirits are supposed to reside. Their protective spirits called zuzu were worshipped through statues placed on altars. The masks gu, gye and dye, in the hands of notables, were only displayed during major funerals or the enthronement of a chief (Kerchache)
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